Friday, December 09, 2011

Keio vs Waseda University

The top two private universities in Japan are Keio and Waseda, and like the famous Yale-Harvard football rivalry, the two schools are always competing against each other fiercely. My son attends a Waseda affiliated high school, and the first thing they taught him was how to sing the school song and cheer loudly for his team against their sworn enemy during the Soukei-sen baseball game. While both schools are very prestigious, I think that Keio has the edge over Waseda when all is said and done. Keio was established by Yukichi Fukuzawa, one of the Founding Fathers of modern Japan, who promoted education as a way for the country to bring the benefits of modernization to every person. (His face adorns the 10,000 yen note today, in a way making him the Ben Franklin of Japan.) Finally, the kanji for Waseda takes away some of its prestige. While the characters for Keio University (慶応大学)are regal, named after the period of imperial rule that came before the Meiji Period, Waseda University (早稲田大学) is less so: the second character in Waseda's name is 稲 ine meaning a rice plant sprouting up, and the third is the kanji for rice paddy 田, which causes Keio students to snicker about how "rural" Waseda is, despite the fact that both schools are in bustling Tokyo. 
Now you know more about universities in Japan than you probably needed to know!

Reminder: our EMS Sale Ends Monday

Remember that we're having a great J-List EMS Sale, to help customers rushing to get products sent in time for Christmas from Japan. You'll get a $15 coupon for an EMS order over $100 (not counting shipping), or a whopping $40 back for an EMS order of $200 or more, which gives you a great excuse to browse our site now for great Japanese snacks, super Totoro items, Hello Kitty, Touhou, K-On!, and make an order now. This offer expires at midnight on Monday, December 12th.

My Waifu is a Tsundere

Anime characters are generally organized into basic archetypes, and whenever a new character is introduced, fans are able to categorize them easily, perhaps as a glasses-wearing bookish girl with poor social skills, a dojikko with a pure and endearing personality to go with her clumsiness, and so on. Each new batch of anime series brings in new variations on the characters, like the recent evolution in "traps" (boys pretending to be girls), "reverse traps" (girls pretending to be boys) and characters like Ayase from Guilty Crown, who could kick your butt any day of the week despite being in a wheelchair. The other day my Japanese wife was loudly complaining about various general failings of mine even as she cooked me a delicious meal then asked with bright eyes if it tasted good, and I realized with a start that I'd married a tsundere, a type of character who is tsun tsun (irritated, annoyed) most of the time but dere dere (loving, tender) when all is said and done. Then I thought about her mother for a moment, who is always very helpful and organized. When I asked what club my wife's mother had been in in high school, my wife said, "She wasn't in a club. She was the class president every year through junior high and high school." Like tsundere, class president/class representative is another well established anime character type, and I'd been living under the same roof with both all this time.

My life is looking more like an anime.

More Thoughts on Japan-Style Capitalism

Recently I wrote about some core differences in the way capitalism functions in Japan, for example how the distributors J-List buys products from will go out of their way to avoid infringing on business relationships we've established with other companies instead of trying to increase their own sales at the expense of a competitor. Another nice thing about Japan is the lack of price gouging in some situations. When I took my son to Hakodate, Hokkaido to watch the legendary night view of the city (the Japanese are into appreciating night views), I was prepared to pay a lot for the privilege because of the unique location. I was pleasantly surprised -- two plates of curry rice and a beer was less than $25. Another unique facet of business in Japan is the history of the old zaibatsu business cartels, groups of companies which held great sway during the industrialization of Japan, the oldest (Sumitomo) with history going back nearly 400 years. The zaibatsu cartels are gone now, broken up after WWII, but the companies are still organized in loose groups like the Yasuda or Mitsui conglomerates. I had friend whose father was a manager in the Kirin Beer company, part of the Mitsubishi Group, and he was such a loyal employee that he refused to buy any product from a company outside this group.

The most beautiful view in Japan, yet the beer is just 500 yen.

Cool Products Friday, December 9, 2011

Here are today's "really cool products" that I've picked out for you, out of the 30+ new items we've added to the J-List and sites today. Note that some products may be "not safe for work" but that all links will allow you to redirect yourself either to the J-List or websites. To see all the J-List products, check out J-List or the updated products link.
COSMODE Nov 2011  Super Cosplay Magazine 042
We start today with the newest issue of COSMODE, the No. 1 magazine for fans of cosplay. Each issue has literally hundreds of pictures of beautiful cosplayers showing off their awesome costumes, and comes with tips on how to make your own costumes to blow people's minds. It's a fantastic resource that all 'Layers should be sure to make use of. Don't miss it!
View products »
S Cawaii Dec 2011
S Cawaii Dec 2011 Then we have another great Tokyo fashion magazine full of glamorous Tokyo socialites. Only the hippest and trendiest styles are featured here.
Mof Mof Earmuff  Doki Doki Kaomoji
Mof Mof Earmuff ~ Doki Doki Kaomoji Keep your ears warm and show that you're on the cutting edge of Japanese internet culture with these cute earmuffs sporting Japanese emoticons.
Den Den Mushi Speaker -- Luffy **Preorder**
Awesome One Piece Anime Items In Stock Just attach your favorite music player, and you'll be able to enjoy your tune from Den Den Mushi, the cute character from One Piece.
2012 Calendar -- Evanglion 2.0 **Preorder**
The 2012 Evangelion calendars are finally in, as well as Pokemonm Madoka Magika, Infinite Stratos, The World God Only Knows, and more. This big restocking represents the last stock of 2012 calendars we'll be getting...which means that when an awesome calendars sells out, it will be gone forever. Don't let hat happen!
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2012 Calendar -- Lucky Cat
Lucky Cat, Other Calendars Restocked Our always-popular Lucky Cat Japanese art calendar is in stock, the last stock we'll get ever. Click to see this gorgeous Japanese calendar.
Sutakora Bank Calico Cat
Sutakora Bank Calico Cat  Japan loves their kawaii coin banks, and we've restocked another popular series. The cat watches the mouse take your money away. Kawaii!
Disney's Figure Ball Mascot Set of 6
Fireball Figure Ball Mascot Set of 6 Straps from the Japanese Disney shorts, we really wish there was more of this cute android to go around.
Hello Kitty Kaiun Mascot Set of 10
Hello Kitty Kaiun Mascot Set of 10 Get ready for the new year with the help of Hello Kitty, the leader in spreading Japanese culture. This time she's cute, traditional New Years items.
PSP To Aru Kagaku no Railgun Limited First Edition w/Kuroko Shirai Figma Action Figure ***Super Rare***
PSP 'Railgun' Game, Other Games In Stock The awesome Railgun PSP game is in stock, both normal and limited edition. Also enjoy the Super Sonico game, plus The IdolMaster and Steins;Gate!
Chiral Amusement Disc (PC Game)
Chiral Amusement Disc (PC Game) By popular request, J-List is now carrying the ultimate fandisc for Togainu no Chi and Lamento. Enjoy hours of fun with dark and cool bishonen!
Evangelion Overhead Headphone -- Nerv Type
Evangelion, Monster Hunter Headphones Restocked Also for anime fans, the super cool DX Evangelion Headphones have been restocked, plus the dreamy Monster Hunter Guild Crest headphones.
Manekko Peechan -- Romantic Blue
Manekko Peechan Talking Bird Toys This is cool: a robot bird that hears what you say to it and repeats it, and remembers, just like a real bird. Check out the great TV commercial too!
K-ON Hizamakura -- School Uniform ver.
Live the dream with these awesome lap pillows modeled after your favorite K-On characters. We have several versions to choose from, and all of them are soft, warm, and ready for your head. You'll be asleep before you know it!
View products »
Girlfriend's Chest Pillow (Mune Makura)
Girlfriend's Chest Pillow (Mune Makura) Or if laps aren't your thing, you can try resting your head on this fine set of soft and inviting breasts. Also great for hugging!
365 Days of Danboard
Super Products for Yotsubato Fans Danboard, the strangely cute cardboard figure, has a photobook showing off the beauty of life, nature and great photography.
Tiger and Bunny Official Hero Book 2
Tiger and Bunny Official Hero Book 2 Next, we have the second volume of the Tiger & Bunny official fanbook. It's loaded with exclusive info and cool pictures that are just to die for. Hot!
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st Visual Collection (Jyo)
Restocked Anime Artbooks Super anime-kei artbooks restocked today, incl. the Nanoha the Movie 1st Visual Book, the Magami Fetish visual book and more. Very easy on the eyes.
Socks Glue
Restocked 'Socks Glue,' Too Keep your knee high socks where they should be, around your knees, with this Japanese High School girl secret, sock glue.
Totoro Wooden Music Box
Wonderful Totoro Products See some great My Neighbor Totoro music boxes restocked, as well as other dream Totoro bento boxes that are delightful to eat from.
Rilakkuma Sunshine Buddies
Solar Powered 'Eco Toys' from Japan Do your part for the environment with these fully solar-powered toys. We have cute teddy bears, cool samurai, lucky cats, and more!
Germanium Detox  Relax Foot Sheet
Interesting Health Items Restocked We've got some fun Japanese health items restocked, incl. the Celnon Body Massage Brush for Cellulite, Germanium Detox & Relax Foot Sheet and more.
Poka Poka Sheep Yutanpo (Hot Water Bottle)  Pink
Poka Poka Sheep Yutanpo (Hot Water Bottle) Count these sheep as you go to bed, and be happy and warm your bed. Soon you'll want to go to sleep, when you have Yutanpo Sheep.
FritoLay Cheetos Yakiniku Flavor
FritoLay Cheetos Yakiniku Flavor Give your taste buds a flavor trip to Japan with these Japan only Cheetos, featuring Japanese Ginger Pork and Yakinikku flavor.
Yokohama Limited Kit Kat Strawberry Cheese Cake
Restocked Japanese Snacks, incl. Kit Kat! Lots of good stuff, incl. Japan Limited Kit Kat flavors in gift boxes, Crayon Shin chan Chocobi, Bourbon Every Burger, and Pocky Panda!
Japanese Sake Drops  Japanese Food Drops
Traditional 'Food Drops' Candies They're back! The amazing traditional "Food Drops" candies that capture the taste of Japan! See Sake, Takoyaki, First Kiss and Nattou back in stock now.
Glico Tsubu Tsubu Strawberry Pocky
Restocked Japanese Snacks + Pocky! See a huge restocking of Pocky products, including Takoyaki Gummy Making (it's fun!), Puccho Ramune, Peko-chan Milky Candy plus awesome Pocky.
Hello KITTY   Pink House Slim Tight Bento Box w/Chopsticks
Kawaii Bento Boxes Posted to J-List We've got a bunch of cuteness from Japan too, like Hello Kitty bento boxes and panda bears galore. It's a kawaii festival!
Genuine Lacquered Miso Soup Bowl Style Bento Box  Rabbit
Traditional Bento Boxes Restocked Big restocking of bento boxes for traditional bento fans too. The Miso Soup Bowl Bento Box, Kerria Ellipsoidal Lacquered Bento and more.
Hello Kitty Moffle  Waffle Maker Pan
Hello Kitty Waffle Maker & More When life gives you lemons, make Hello Kitty waffles, we always say. See the restocked Hello Kitty Japan items today.
Microwave Waffle Maker
Microwave Waffle Maker, Other Fun Products Or try making waffles in your microwave with the fun cooker we restocked today. We sell dozens of wacky Japanese microwave products.
Coffret du couturier Letter Set
Restocked Stationery, Office Items, More See the popular Coffret du Couturier Letter Set restocked, plus an amazing calculator you can clip to anything, along with restocked Japanese pens.
Dr. Ion Stylish iPhone Case
Dr. Ion Stylish iPhone Case  Keep your iPhone (or smartphone) safe and secure in this carrying case designed in Japan, the home of gadget lovers.
Lacquer-style Square Sake Cup *Black*
Awesome Sake Cups from Japan You aren't really drinking sake unless you are drinking it from a square cup, or one with great ukiyoe art on it. Become a master of sake with these.
YOKOBUE  Traditional Bamboo Flute
Traditional Items Restocked See some of our most beloved traditional Japanese items, including yokobue flutes that our customers love and more.
Barnaby Brooks. Jr Plush  Tiger  Bunny *Preorder*
Barnaby Plush ~ Tiger & Bunny More great preorder figures today, like this adorable plush of Barnaby from Tiger & Bunny. If you feel the urge to squeeze, that's perfectly normal.
Nanoha Takamachi 1/7 Figure Summer Holiday  Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS *Preorder*
Nanoha Summer Holiday ~ Nanoha StrikerS Then we have this absolutely stunning figure of Nanoha in a swimsuit, looking as classy and cute as ever. Just look at that 3D sculpted hair behind her.
Pan. 2  Pantsu
Pan. 2 ~ Pantsu We also love fetishistic photobooks, which is why we're bringing you this awesomely erotic collection of women taking off (or losing) their panties.
Pet's Eye 2
Sexy Photobooks Restocked Enjoy Pet's Eye, the book that shows cute J-girls from the low angle of their pets, plus Ching Came Golden Best, which has the most beautiful girls in it.
Chifusa Manyuu 1/4.5 Cast off Figure  Manyuu Hiken Chou *Preorder*
Chifusa Cast-off Figure ~ Manyuu Hiken Chou This figure was too sexy to include with the other preorders. Be careful you aren't blinded by the light when you reveal her massive oppai.
Rumika is not only a pretty face, she is a beautiful body. Now you can take home part of that gorgeous body with a custom curved adult toy made for the ultimate pleasure sensations. A truly fantastic device for stress relief, but it's a "W" (double) hole which means twice as much fun.
View products »
The Perfect Pussy Principle  Ryu Narushima Hole
The Perfect Manko Principle Onaholes Stress toys made from casts of your favorite JAV stars, now that's a great idea. A big restocking of these popular toys posted today, incl. Miharu Kai.
T-Back Kuri Kuri  T-Back Panty  Mini Rotor
Innovative Stress Toys from Japan A pair of panties specially made to hide a surprise inside, plus Pururun Angel Busy and the Ikkitousen Parody Toy that's unbelievably real.
Walkure Romanze  Shojo Kishi Monogatari
Walkure Romanze ~ Shojo Kishi Monogatari Today's restocked eroge is a story about cute and sexy female knights who excel at jousting. The art in this game is absolutely stunning!
We Love Master *Preorder*
We Love Master *Preorder* Another visual novel from Mangagamer is available for preorder. We Love Master is a fun game where you train maids to service your every need.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Top Buzzwords of 2011 in Japan. Edarimasho!

Every year dictionary publisher U-CAN announces the most popular buzzwords for the past year, slang words which appear suddenly and are likely to fade away just as quickly, and the official list for 2011 was released yesterday. The list of popular new words included sumaho, an abbreviation for smartphones, which really took off this year; Nadeshiko Japan, the soccer team that won the FIFA 2011 Women's World Cup; and "Tiger Mask," which began when an anonymous kind soul donated school backpacks to orphans under the name of a classic anime character, and was quickly imitated by many others. Buzzwords related to the terrible earthquake and tsunamis of March 11 were well represented in this year's list, like keikaku teiden ("scheduled blackout") for the period of rolling blackouts in the month after the disaster; "after 4," referring the new free time employees enjoyed when their companies went switched to earlier schedules to save power (including J-List); the verb "Edaru," named after hardworking Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, meaning to work really hard; and Operation Tomodachi, the U.S. military rescue mission, which had many Japanese laughing at its goofy name before making them tear up with emotion.

One of the more awesome moments in U.S.-Japan relations.